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PAUSE FOR BREATH
OUB wanderings in the Hindu jungle have thrown out of gear all
our attempts to keep to any sort of chronological order.
Where were we ? In hospital in Peshawar. And where are we
now ? In Bombay* Much water has flowed down the Ganges in
the meantime, and we are wiser though a good deal weaker. An
authors aches and pains, as we previously observed, should not
be regarded as marketable commodities. So we will content
ourselves by saying that two major operations, iu the height of
the Indian monsoon, do not exactly set a man up.
One other * aside5*. .the opinions set forth in the last chapter
were not formed till many months after the time of which we are
now writing; they were the result of study and observation all
over India, from the Ashrams of Pondicherry to the temples of
Benares. In Bombay, where we now find ourselves, my ideas were
still vague and fluid; I knew practically nothing, and rejoiced m
the iact. His ignorance, to a man of inquiring mind, should be
a constant stimulation and delight; it has the same quality of
excitement as an uncharted map. He can say to himself. *.
'here are seas of philosophy that I have never sailed and moun-
tains of doubt that I have never climbed.9 So he reasons, and
exults at the thought of the vast cerebral territories which are still
waiting to be explored.
I wanted to see everything and do everything. At the moment
all I could do was to walk very slowly round a small table for a
minutes or so in the afternoon, holding on to the edge, and adding
a few extra steps every day. Aches and pains again! But at least
this enforced solitude made me unusually sensitive to certain
aspects of Indian life which can only be appreciated by those who
lie, week after week, on a sick-bed.
And so, while we are waiting to get stronger, let us watch, and«
listen,, and see what we can learn. Here are some extracts from